The word “terpene” may sound strange and unfamiliar to many people. It won’t be for much longer, though, because as technology advances, we are beginning to have a much better understanding of cannabis. It is clear to see that there is a lot more to learn and understand about marijuana and cannabis than what was once thought. The cannabinoid content of the cannabis plant starts with the smell.
The fragrant oils or terpenes come in a diverse profile of flavors and aromas. Terpenes are what give the Lavender strain its sweet floral scent, while Sour Diesel has a skunky fuel type flavor and Blueberry has the recognizable berry aroma. These terpenes are secreted through the plant’s sticky resin glands. They also produce THC and CBD. Terpenes can also be found in other plants, fruits and herbs.
Much like cannabinoids, terpenes easily bind to the brain receptors to cause a variety of profound effects. There are four major terpenes commonly found in cannabis trains (see below). When consumers choose strains, often their choice includes unique terpene contents, as they seek specific effects in their user experience. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that different harvests may produce different terpene profiles. This is due to the variables in cultivation and curing methods. The only fool-proof way to know of a strain terpene level is through lab-testing the products.
As far as edibles go, one thing to keep in mind is that the advantageous benefits to be had from the terpenes can be seriously diminished if they reach a heat level past boiling point. Low heat devices, such as vaporizer pens may be a better choice to consumers. Below is a list of the four most commonly found terpenes:
Limonene– has citrus flavor; This terpene has been used to promote weight loss, treat bronchitis, and has been explored for use in cancer treatment. Uses of limonene extend to making medicinal creams and ointments that penetrate the skin. An example of a strain that has high amounts of this terpene is Super Lemon Haze, which has a strong citrus aroma.
Myrcene– has a musky, earthy aroma with a hint of fruit in the flavor profile. Some of the medicinal uses include as an anti-inflammatory, muscle-relaxer, and as a sedative. Some believe that this contributes to the “couch-lock” or “stoned” feeling attributed to indicas. An example of a strain with high myrcene perpetrates (over 65%) is Lovrin 110.
Linalool– has a hint of floral spice to it. While found in cannabis, this terpene is also found in cinnamon, mint, flowers and even fungi. Medicinal uses include anti-inflammatory properties. It also assists with helping to modulate motor movements. Other studies found linalool to help with liver cancer treatments. An example of a strain with 1% linalool is Amnesia Haze.
Caryophyllene – has a hint of hoppy to it. Hops and cannabis are essentially cousins. Medicinal uses of this terpene include the treatment of depression and anxiety. An example of a strain with 0.33% caryophyllene content is Train Wreck.
The future of terpenes will include more and more testing and research on the cannabinoid content of cannabis, as well as test the benefits of those compounds. There is still so much to learn. Researchers, scientists and lab technicians will continue to test and document different strains. Currently, there are over 200 different terpenes and researchers have been extracting and testing them clinically.